Todd Gurley was one of the most exciting running backs in his rookie season but he finished his second season in a slump and many questioned whether his rookie numbers were just a fluke. One person who is not convinced that Gurley was a fluke is his new head coach Sean McVay. ESPN reported that McVay has been able to see how special Gurley is for the Los Angeles Rams thanks to an injury to another running back on the team – Lance Dunbar.

Lance Dunbar’s injury

Lance Dunbar was a third down back with the Dallas Cowboys for the first five seasons of his career. While he rarely ran the ball, he was involved in the passing game and caught 55 balls for 554 yards in the past three seasons. However, Dunbar also suffered through a lot of injury problems in Dallas, only making it through a season healthy once – in 2014. In 2015, Dunbar tore his ACL and was out until early in the 2016 season.

Lance Dunbar signed with the Los Angeles Rams and looked like he would play the same role with Los Angeles as he did with the Cowboys. However, just like he did in Dallas, Dunbar has already fallen to injury. It is another knee injury and the Rams put Dunbar on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) and that has to worry the Rams’ coaching staff. However, one thing that has shined thanks to Dunbar’s injury is Todd Gurley and his performance for his new coach.

Todd Gurley hopes to rebound in 2017

After running for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns in his first season with the Los Angeles Rams, Todd Gurley only ran for 885 yards and six touchdowns in his second season. However, with that said, Gurley saw his receiving numbers increase slightly. While catching 21 passes for 188 yards in his rookie year, he caught 43 passes for 327 yards in his second season. According to his new head coach, Sean McVay, Todd is a “special player” and a very good receiver.

There are thoughts that his second-year slump was more due to poor coaching and bad quarterback play than his own decline in skills. With Jared Goff having seven starts under his belt and his first full offseason of work as the No. 1 quarterback, there is hope that Goff will be able to turn things around – or at least show improvement. If the passing game improves, more holes should open for Gurley to run the ball.

However, if Jared Goff needs help in a short, fast passing game, Todd Gurley is proving in practice that he can be a No. 1 target for the Los Angeles Rams there as well. The one thing that Sean McVay wants to be concerned about is keeping Gurley fresh and not wearing him out by expecting too much.

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